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Fair Factories Clearinghouse Announces New Members

Published 10-29-07

Submitted by Starbucks Corporation

NEW YORK, NY - October 29, 2007 - The Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting factory compliance through the sharing of factory audit information, today welcomed its newest members. ASICS America Corporation, Patagonia, and Starbucks Coffee Company are the latest companies to choose the FFC to manage their factory compliance programs through the FFC.

"We are enormously pleased to welcome these distinguished companies as the latest members of the FFC," said Kiku Loomis, FFC's Executive Director. "The recent acquisition of such distinguished companies signifies that the FFC is providing the right programs at the right time in the field of supply chain compliance."

Kelly Goodejohn, Senior Manager of Sustainable Procurement Practices at Starbucks, stated, "Starbucks believes that the Fair Factory Clearinghouse provides us a tremendous opportunity to work across industries to positively impact factory conditions. Participating in the FFC is one way we hope to focus our efforts on monitoring supplier practices by providing the tools to better track compliance with our code of conduct and social responsibility standards."

Since its launch in 2005, the FFC has provided its member companies with a web-enabled, advanced audit management system which allows members to manage their factory compliance programs in a manner that is cost-effective, can inform sourcing decisions by retailers and brands, and help improve factory workplace conditions around the world. Key features of the FFC's audit management system are the ability to store factory data, record audit results, schedule and manage factory audits, and export customized reports. In early 2008, the FFC will add the capability to share non-competitive factory compliance information between members using an expanded platform - the "FFC Sharing Platform."

"Patagonia is very excited to announce our partnership with the Fair Factories Clearinghouse" said Nicole Bassett, Manager of Social Compliance for Patagonia. "This critical relationship gives us the ability to store, manage and track our social and environmental data as it relates to our suppliers and vendors. In addition the FFC is an essential tool for progressively engaging the challenges of social responsibility in the apparel industry. This sharing platform will not only reduce audit fatigue at the factory level, but bring brands together to support clear and consistent supplier communication, ultimately making the social auditing process more efficient and effective."

The goal of the FFC is to provide brands and retailers with a scalable technology and organizational platform to facilitate non-competitive collaboration on supply chain compliance issues, reducing audit fatigue and ultimately, to improve factory compliance on a range of issues including social and environmental compliance, and security. The FCC's expanding roster of members also includes the adidas Group, Hudson's Bay Company, L.L. Bean, Macy's Merchandising Group, Mark's Work Wearhouse, the Timberland Company, and VF Corporation. The FFC's rapidly growing database currently contains 13,000 factories and over 25,000 audits.

"ASICS America Corporation is pleased to be a member of the FFC," said Vivienne Riggio, Manager, and Social Responsibility & Supply Chain Security. "Brands are now much more comfortable sharing supplier information, and recognize the value in reducing audit fatigue for headquarter staff and for factories. One of the great benefits of sharing corrective action plans is delivering a consistent message to our suppliers. We believe that working with other FFC members we can facilitate the pace of improvements in factory conditions." Ms. Riggio added, "We have found the FFC product to be very user friendly and the technical staff very responsive and helpful. The trainings are comprehensive and clear. The FFC also encourages members to participate in 'user feedback' calls for suggestions on improving the product. We anticipate a quick return on our investment and are very excited to be a part of this initiative!"

FFC is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York, founded by the National Retail Federation, the Retail Council of Canada, Reebok International Ltd, and World Monitors Inc. The FFC is supported through contributions from retail associations and participating companies and through grants, including funding provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Founding members include Macy's Merchandising Group, Hudson's Bay Company, Mark's Work Wearhouse Ltd., Reebok International Ltd. and The Wet Seal. For more information, see: www.fairfactories.org

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